As I’ve said in the past, zombie movies are hit and miss. As a tool to prepare yourself in the event of a zombie invasion, most of the are beyond useless. The worst of them are outright dangerous horror movies, filling our minds with misconceptions about the true nature that the Zombie Outbreak represents.
These zombie movies are, in our humble opinions, the best zombie movies of all time. Watch these zombie movies. Rewind them. Watch them again. There’s important stuff in these movies, and you don’t want to have missed it on the day the Undead arrive.
The ZombiePhiles’ Top 10 Zombie Films
Probably the weakest of the George Romero zombie movies, Land of the Dead was hailed as his masterpiece by marketers. Far from his best, Land of the Dead is a weak but valuable entry in Romero’s zombie universe. Set far, far into the zombie pandemic, Land of the Dead focuses on what may be one of the last bastions of civilization, a city encampment, run by Dennis Hopper, that leaves some people wondering if their chances aren’t better with the zombies. Basically lacking in the social commentary that Romero’s become famous for over the years, Land of the Dead instead tries to compensate by piling on the gore – and they really don’t shy away. Viewers might actually consider not watching the Unrated Version, since the gore doesn’t add anything to the plot and can actually be quite distracting sometimes. Remember, ZombiePhiles, we know what happens when the zombies get us! We don’t need to see it graphically played out on the movie screen.
Another career launcher, Brain Dead (also called Dead Alive in the United States) was the brain-child of Peter Jackson, who later went on to direct the expansive Lord of the Rings Trilogy. A tongue-in-cheek frightfest, Brain Dead is really more of a comedy than it is a horror movie, although that doesn’t stop Jackson from piling the gore on liberally. Brilliantly acted by a handful of New Zealand and Australian upstarts, Brain Dead chronicles the story of a zombie rat who infects the main character’s overly possessive mother with zombieness, just as he’s about to score with his new girlfriend. An outrageous farce that culminates in a hysterical gore fest, Brain Dead is refreshingly different and remains timeless and humorous long after its release.
One of those Zombie movies that isn’t really a Zombie movie, Army of Darkness deserves to be included because it may be one of the greatest cult hits ever. Launching the careers of Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi, the young director who woudi later be tapped to direct the first three Spiderman movies, Army of Darkness invented an archetype that persists throughout the zombie genre to this day. Campbell’s dialogue is hilariously overacted in the style that he later became famous for, and Raimi’s budget-cutting, creative camera work influenced directors for decades. Still an underground hit to this day, rumblings of an Army of Darkness sequel have fans of the original moaning in their graves.